New Zealand to invest $200M in ASEAN

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 22 2015 05:06 PM | Updated as of Nov 22 2015 06:25 PM

National leaders stand for a family photo before their East Asia Summit (EAS) meeting in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR - New Zealand announced Sunday that it will invest $200 million into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the next three years.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at a summit added that his country has elevated its relationship with ASEAN, from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic one.

"We are working closely together on shared political and security challenges. Our new agreement means we will work more closely together on these issues," Key said.

Under its people strategy, the partnership will build opportunities for training and exchanges and greater flow of people in both directions, with a focus on youth, especially those current and potential leaders.

The partnership's prosperity strategy will also also support ASEAN and New Zealand's economic engagement, achieve common regional integration of objectives and support the regional groupings drive to close the development gap.

President Benigno Aquino III, in his intervention, welcomed New Zealand's strategic partnership with ASEAN.

Referring to the partnership, Aquino said: "This takes an even deeper significance, given our pursuit of ASEAN Community Vision 2025. With our continuing solidarity, I believe we can further build on the foundations of inclusiveness, stability, prosperity, and resilience that we have so far established."

New Zealand is among eight major dialogue partners of the 10 ASEAN member countries.